Why I Love…Leopard Print

As Helen said in her Nail Art post, I love leopard print. As a pattern it’s my favourite followed by polka dots and stripes. But it can be done/worn/used badly. You see it all the time. Just like you see people walking down the street wearing styles that don’t suit them. I don’t want to say that all women should be a certain size. They shouldn’t. But by learning what shapes suit you, everyone could look amazing – without the help of Gok Wan. This is probably a separate issue but does, in a way, link to leopard print. The wearing of it.

I’ve previously mentioned my love for Marilyn Monroe, Scarlett Johnasson and Diane Kruger and this post links them with leopard print too. Cos they’re great.

One key note I would make about leopard print is that one item is usually enough. In the same way that I think double denim is the worst crime against fashion: two pieces of leopard print are unlikely to match. But if they did then that would look too matchy-matchy. It’s a conundrum. Or, just don’t do it.

So here are some examples from the top down. Pretty much:

Audrey Hepburn

An iconic sixties photo with a leopard print pillbox hat. Although the photo only shows the top-half of Hepburn we can see that she’s wearing a classically tailored white trenchcoat. The leopard print pattern is the key aspect of her outfit and she would be overpowered if the rest of what she was wearing was too fussy.

Marilyn Monroe in ‘Gentlemen Prefer Blondes’

My second favourite Monroe film. If there was a way to casually wear this shawl on a day-to-day basis, I would try it. As with Hepburn, this outfit is simple. The focus is on the shawl and, because it is so close to her face, Monroe.

Scarlett Johansson in a black pencil skirt with a leopard print blouse. A way to wear leopard print to work. Also a great look for someone pear shaped. The black pencil skirt emphasises the waist, skims over the hips and the leopard print highlights the bust as a way of balancing the body out. This emphasis would make someone “top heavy” look a little bigger. Hourglass Johansson has the best of both. Of course.

A photo of Johansson modelling a leopard print coat. Why wouldn’t I use it?

Kate Moss in her leopard print coat. I remember reading in some fashion magazine that Moss was a key factor in bringing leopard print back in the ’90s. I think that’s why I didn’t love it back then. But a coat is a great stand-out piece. You just have to be careful what you wear it with.

Scarlett Johansson modelling for Mango.

If you didn’t want to shop at Mango before you do now, right? (Bear in mind this was a few years ago.) I think a leopard print cardigan is one of those wardrobe staples. I wear mine ALL THE TIME. With jeans, skirts, shorts, dresses. Anything. That doesn’t have too much of a print about it. But even some of the stuff I wear it with is more detailed than my mum would like. But, she has issues with a lot of my wardrobe and I don’t listen to that.

Christian Dior 1947 Leopard Print Dress

Here is a Christian Dior classic. The leopard print dress is a classic and is simply accessorised. This is a classic way of wearing the pattern. My worst nightmare would be this dress worn with leopard print shoes and leopard print clutch. Just the thought is making me shiver.

Iconic Monroe photo taken by Eve Arnold.

So the image of Johansson above has her wearing a leopard print body. Personally I’ve never understood this new obsession with bodies. It’s a leotard right? I didn’t like wearing a leotard when I took dancing lessons, why would I wear one during an entire day? To counter this, there’s Monroe in a leopard print swimsuit. If I had Monroe’s figure I would, wouldn’t you?

Johansson’s leopard print pencil skirt has the shape of the 40s/50s but the punky hair, slogan t-shirt and the studded leather jacket bring it right back. Not to mention the loudness of that patterned skirt. I love this outfit. And have you seen the shoes?

Diane Kruger

Leopard print shoes are another of my wardrobe staples. I’ve just bought a new pair because my others are so damaged from over wear. Have I thrown that pair away though? No. They’ve still got some time. Here, Diane Kruger wears them to brighten up a black jumpsuit. This is how I’d wear them. A little black dress but you don’t want it to look too dark? Leopard print shoes. I do the same with bright coloured shoes as well. An interesting feature is great for an outfit.

Leopard print scarves. Another accessory that can brighten an outfit. You can get away with a lot more with a scarf. Something that I need to own. But, as with everything I’ve said before, I wouldn’t combine it with other leopard print items.

A leopard print bag. Probably a hard one. I would get a clutch for evening wear but not a day bag because, generally speaking, my wardrobe planning is so limited I would inadvertently have a leopard print bag with a leopard print cardigan and be mad at myself all day. I have other reasons to be mad at myself, I don’t need over leopard print-ing to be one.

(If any of this has come across as condescending or arrogant that was not my intention. A last minute fear of personality discrepancies as viewed over the internet.)

S x

P.S. If I had the patience I would definitely do the leopard print nails. But then back away from wearing leopard print. But that’s just me.

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2 thoughts on “Why I Love…Leopard Print

  1. Pingback: Saw This And Thought It Was Cool « Damn, That's Some Fine Tailoring

  2. Pingback: Red Carpet Watch: The London Critics’ Circle Film Awards 2013 « Damn, That's Some Fine Tailoring

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